Archive for August 2011

Street signs for Church St. and State St.

The Sacred and the Secular

One of the common themes that arises when discussing politics is the issue of religion within political discourse and legislation. For every person who argues for the separation of church and state, there’s another who decries the removal of prayer from schools. There is a lot of debate over the level of influence that religion should have within the political realm—whether the government should be strictly secular or not. But I would like to argue that secularism is a cause that everyone—religious folks included—should support.Continue Reading

Squirrel with big, bulging muscles

Being Mr. Macho

I’m consistently amazed at how little self-awareness people can have at times. Or, at least, I’m assuming that there are others with as little self-awareness as me. My understanding of myself seems to come in bursts of revelation rather than slow, incremental gain. As my thoughts swirl around in a storm, sudden flashes of insight appear like lightning.

The current storm in my brain has been regarding gender roles. As my understanding of feminism grows, I realize that gender roles are one of the key areas of society that must be challenged in order to provide equal status for women. But such an issue is just as applicable for men as well, since men face gender roles and norms of their own, and it would be somewhat odd to attack feminine gender roles and leave the masculine ones intact. So this issue, more than perhaps some other feminist issues, has an incredible power to unite both men and women in challenging social stigmas and oppression.Continue Reading

Demon and goat

Strange Spirits: The Demons All around Us

I was raised in a conservative evangelical household. The denomination in which I grew up, Pentecostalism, takes the Bible to be literal truth. But the Bible was written thousands of years ago, before there was any systematic scientific understanding of the world. Thus, a literalist Christian holds to a belief system based on a book written in the Iron Age. This has led to the perpetuation of beliefs which have no place in the modern world (ones that have absolutely no scientific credibility). One of those beliefs is a literal acceptance of demons and other spirits.Continue Reading